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The legal economy right now is not unlike the economy writ large. People with small or non-existent paychecks are suffering, but those at the top are actually doing just fine for themselves.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it might just be reality. As David Brooks put it in a recent New York Times column, “[t]he meritocracy is overwhelming the liberal project.” He argues that in our current, rapidly changing economy, people who are smart, well-educated, and hardworking just end up doing better and better for themselves — and there are practical limits on how much redistributive policies can “fix” this situation.

Sorry for that digression — back to Biglaw. Let’s take a look at how the rich are getting richer….

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The Internet naturally devolves to Hitler references. Call it Godwin’s Law. Call it reductio ad hitlerum if you’re into the whole unnecessary use of Latin thing (and you’re lawyers, so you totally are). But with the advent of the Internet, Downfall video became inevitable.

And with bored lawyers seeking Internet-based distractions at their desks (or law library carrels), the legal Downfall video was even more inevitable.

Above the Law has linked to some of these before (for example here and here), but I figured I’d treat the readers to a collection of some of the finer videos here as part of my role as the editor covering the tech beat.

If you have others, link them in the comments. I’m sure someone out there in the middle of a two-week document review somewhere will appreciate it….

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In case you haven’t noticed this trend by now, lots and lots of lawyers are getting out of the practice of what they perceive to be boring, in favor of pursuing new careers in more creative professions — including the wonderful world of fashion.

Thus far, we’ve seen a man go from Biglaw to big pockets (a tech-enabled apparel creator), and a woman go from Biglaw to big breasts (a lingerie designer).

Next up, we’ve got a woman who went from Biglaw to making fashion designers’ big dreams come true. She’s young, she’s beautiful, she’s hip, and with her frequent usage of the word “like” as a filler word, she’s almost sure to be a huge a hit among fashionistas worldwide….

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Can you make this? I didn’t think so.

Our latest career alternative for attorneys is definitely outside the box. It’s not like, say, going into finance, or consulting, or even writing and blogging. It’s really different.

We’re talking about balloon twisting. Yes, that’s right — like the kind of you see at children’s parties, or done by street performers. In fact, today’s profile subject earned extra money during law school by performing as a balloon twister on the streets of Boston….

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Having a bad day in Biglaw?

Did you love Legos as a child? Well, who didn’t? They’re colorful and creativity-triggering. Having your child play with Legos is probably better than handing him an iPad equipped with Angry Birds (although I’ve witnessed firsthand the power of Angry Birds to mollify a misbehaving child, so I don’t judge).

But did you ever think, regarding Legos, that you could turn it into a living? And not just a living, but a successful career as an artist?

Today in career alternatives, we meet a lawyer turned Lego lover. His sculptures have appeared in museums and galleries around the country….

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It’s hard out here for a big-busted woman. Although being a well-endowed woman has its advantages, it can present problems as well. For example, if you are a large-breasted but not plus-size woman, finding an appropriately sized bra isn’t easy (or so I’m told).

That brings us to the latest profile subject in Bloomberg Law’s excellent series on “stealth lawyers” — attorneys who have left the law to pursue other passions. Today’s stealth lawyer is a big-busted woman who encountered difficulty in locating lingerie for herself.

So she launched her own business to cater to this market, trading Biglaw for big breasts. Let’s meet her….

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Pillsbury’s so lonely these days.

* “Without the formation of character, the rest is futile.” An Article III judge’s take on the law school crisis. [Simple Justice]

* Because nobody likes sloppy seconds, the merger talks between Pillsbury Winthrop and Dickstein Shapiro are now off the table. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* David Tresch, an ex-Biglaw CIO, was indicted last week on wire fraud charges. “Bitch better give me back my money,” said Mayer Brown. [ABA Journal]

* Does Jeffrey Toobin understand the Voting Rights Act? This law professor seems skeptical. [PrawfsBlog]

* Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, because this Saturday is Gun Appreciation Day. Go celebrate your Second Amendment rights — but do it responsibly, please! [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Remember Ryan Chenevert, the young lawyer who took home the title of Cosmo’s Bachelor of the Year for 2012? Check out the very tongue-in-cheek interview this hottie did with 225 Magazine, after the jump….

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Beneath the skin of many a suit-sporting lawyer beats the heart of a writer. Law offices across the land are stocked with aspiring novelists, poets, journalists, and others who long to write things other than credit agreements or motions to dismiss.

Perhaps you’re a literary type who went to law school on a lark but long to return to the world of arts and letters. If so, keep reading to learn about how to make that dream a reality….

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These days, traveling for work can be a real pain thanks to the efforts of the Transportation Security Administration. With all of the electronic gadgets you may be carrying with you to your destination, having to unload and reload your bags and pockets during every business trip you make can get old, and quickly at that.

If only there were something — perhaps an article of clothing — that would allow you to carry everything you could possibly need, from work-related tech gear to personal items and more. All you’d have to do is take it off at security checkpoints and then be on your way without the usual hassle. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

As it turns out, that piece of clothing exists, and it was created by a former corporate and real estate lawyer….

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It’s the last day of December, so it’s a good time to look back on the year that was. We’ll do what we’ve done for the past three years (wrap-up posts from 2009, 2010, and 2011 can be found here, here, and here) and identify the ten biggest stories of the past year as decided by you, our readers. With the help of Google Analytics, we’ve compiled a list of our top ten posts for 2012, based on traffic (as represented by pageviews).

By the way, for the third year in a row, the most popular category page on Above the Law was Law Schools. People have now been intensely focused on the declining value proposition of going to law school for as long as it takes to earn a Juris Doctor degree. Isn’t it time that we graduate from the current educational model?

The second and third most-popular categories on ATL in 2012 were Biglaw and Bonuses. Although this year brought us the largest law firm failure ever, nearly all other firms indiscriminately doled out offers to summer associates, and bonus season looked better for the first time in years. While the legal profession is still in transition, things are certainly looking up, and through the highs and the lows, we’ve been there to cover it all.

So what were the ten most popular individual posts at Above the Law in 2012? Let’s find out….

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